Saturday was a spectacular day for Oklahoma State. There was drama. There was triumph. There was a silent football stadium filled with more than 80,000 enemies. It was everything a Cowboy fan could ever ask for. It was a beautiful change of pace for OSU.
That's because the previous five games were downright, flat-out awful. OSU was blown off the field one week after another by TCU, West Virginia, Kansas State, Texas and Baylor. The Cowboys lost those five contests by 26.6 points per game and all hope looked lost for a postseason berth.
As the losses piled up, so did the criticism toward coach Mike Gundy. Many OSU fans were unhappy with Gundy's succinct press-conference jargon and wanted real answers for the team's sudden struggles. In addition, Gundy's cohesiveness with Athletic Director Mike Holder and super-booster T. Boone Pickens had come into question. Many reports have indicated that Gundy's relationships with both are strained and some even believe they're beyond repair.
On top of all that, there are the constant rumors of Gundy leaving for another job, specifically Arkansas and Tennessee last season and Nebraska and Florida this year.
But what many don't seem to realize is that there's a reason Gundy gets linked to these quality programs: he's a winner. And the folks who spew negativity toward him never seem to acknowledge that he's the greatest football coach to ever grace the sideline in Stillwater.
No one, besides a handful of OSU homers, picked the Pokes to roll into Norman and win. Many thought it would be a close game, but few picked them to actually win. And why should they have? On top of their ugly losing streak, the Cowboys hadn't won at Oklahoma since 2001.
But with everything going against them, Gundy's team was ready to play right out of the gate. He had the Cowboys believing that they could beat the heavily-favored Sooners, and they did. And as a result, Oklahoma State is going to a school-record ninth straight bowl game. Even in a rebuilding season in which he needed to use three quarterbacks just to survive, Gundy found a way to beat the Sooners and get his team to the postseason.
Holder and Pickens should take a look at what Gundy has accomplished and reconsider how they treat him going forward. If you look at his body of work, Gundy has turned Oklahoma State into a nationally-relevant program. The Cowboys have 65 wins since the start of the 2008 season. That's more wins than Georgia, USC, Michigan, Notre Dame, Auburn, Florida, Penn State and Texas.
OSU should celebrate this tremendous win, but once the party dies down, shift the focus to keeping Gundy around as long as it possibly can.